Lok Sabha polls: Priyanka Gandhi unlikely to contest from Rae Bareli

Rahul may contest from Amethi; Cong yet to announce candidates for both seats

Priyanka Gandhi (File) Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra | PTI

As suspense continues over who the Congress might field from the Gandhi family’s stronghold seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli, it is learnt that contrary to what is widely expected, AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may not contest from Rae Bareli.

There has been unceasing speculation about, as also clamour within the party for Priyanka to contest from Rae Bareli, a seat which her mother Sonia Gandhi recently vacated after having represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha since 2004.

According to highly placed sources in the party, Priyanka is unlikely to contest from Rae Bareli. As per sources, Priyanka would have by now begun her poll preparation in the constituency if she were to contest from Rae Bareli. Sources said a decision on who will contest from Amethi and Rae Bareli will be taken by the Gandhis.

Priyanka, say Congress leaders, will be one of the top three star campaigners of the party, along with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi. She is set to begin her campaigning for the elections with rallies in Ramnagar and Roorkee in Uttarakhand today.

After having taken the political plunge before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Priyanka had taken up the onus of trying to revive the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. But she found little success. It was widely speculated the coming general elections would see her making her electoral debut.

However, the option of Rahul Gandhi returning to contest from Amethi is learnt to be open. Rahul, who had represented Amethi in Parliament since 2004, lost to Bharatiya Janata Party's Smriti Irani in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In 2019, Rahul also contested and won from Wayanad in Kerala. Irani is contesting again from Amethi this election. 

The twin Lok Sabha seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli have been known as the Gandhi family pocket borough, and the expectation this time in the party is that Rahul would contest from Amethi and Priyanka from Rae Bareli. These are the only two seats in Uttar Pradesh for which the Congress is yet to declare its candidates.

When asked about the delay in declaring candidates for the two seats, a senior Congress leader said there wasn't any delay since the nomination process for the seats begins only on April 27. The leader pointed out that the voting in Wayanad will take place on April 26, indicating that Rahul might contest from Amethi. The polling in the two seats is scheduled for May 20.

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